Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Holy Cow, We Did Something Today

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I’ve been bad about the homeschooling thing lately, and by that I mean the formal homeschooling.  Since I’ve started working I’ve really stopped doing a lot of what we used to do, you know, the formal book stuff that normal homeschooling families do.  I kind of stopped caring.

Yesterday, for example, the kids watched Pirates of the Caribbean when they first got up.  They spent the rest of the day watching various other shows.  To quote a shirt I saw and loved (and must soon own), “I give zero fox.”  I couldn’t give a flying rat patootie what the kids were doing yesterday, so long as I got to sleep in for a few extra hours.  I was in no mood to put up with the kids fighting me over books.  I didn’t even have it in me to put a documentary on Netflix.  I just didn’t care.  I was too exhausted to deal with any of it.

Okay, so most days haven’t been that bad.  We’ve watched a lot of documentaries over the past couple of weeks since I started work.  We haven’t been all about ditching educational stuff.  Yesterday was an exception.  Still, we haven’t really been on it like we used to be, math, reading, phonics, the whole shebang.

And I’ll be honest, I really liked it.  Yesterday it was great to just let the kids go wild and do whatever they wanted to do.  I felt like this was the way it’s supposed to be, that we’re supposed to be living this kind of lifestyle.  I really need to get my head screwed on straight to find a way to make this work because this is really what we need to be doing.  I don’t need to work in all these books and things.  The kids will learn, whether I push them to or not.

As a result, I’ve opted to take Mondays off from schooling all together.  Actually, so far as I’m concerned, we’re going to be in our “summer” homeschooling routine.  I’ve decided for the summer we’re going to do phonics, reading, and writing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We’re going to do math, geography, and science on Wednesdays.  If I’m feeling ambitious we might do history on Mondays or Fridays in the form of reading together or documentaries.  We’re not going to be hitting it hard and heavy like we have been all year.  We’re just going to take the relaxed approach.

But today I got us somewhat back on track.  Sander did his Explode the Code and Primary Phonics.  Luca did the same.  Beekee did some of the pages from his workbooks that he’d skipped.  It’s late in the day, but I hope to get some math squeezed in at the end of it.  If not, we’ll do the math tomorrow and try to work a fuller schedule.  I don’t want to completely give up on our former routine.  I think we just need to play with it a bit.

As for why we’re working through the summer, I know the kids are all going to be in “elementary school” next year.  It would be good to get them all reading independently on a strong enough level that they can start having fun with reading.  So far Sander is just reading the primers from his phonics program as well as some of the LEGO phonics books.  Beekee is getting into the Horrible Histories books, which kind of makes me feel like I’m covering reading and history with him.  Luca likes me to read the LEGO phonics books and let him repeat the words I read, that way Luca gets to “read” the story too.  I’m trying to work on making books a part of our daily routine.

There’s this whole push in my area for reading twenty minutes a day to foster good reading habits.  I’ll be honest, I’ve always kind of sucked at that.  I’ve read to the kids when they want me to read, not when I think they should be read to.  This has resulted in a horrible habit of reading, one that I’m going to have to rectify.  Now that Luca and Sander are older I can get them to settle in for chapter books more, so I can start reading those to the kids every day.  Sander is also getting to the point where he can read his primers for twenty minutes a day, or two LEGO Star Wars phonics books in a day.  Beekee sits down for a chapter of his books and that’s twenty minutes for him.  I’m not strict about it.  I don’t ask them to tell me about the story they’re reading or expect them to pass any kind of “test” on the knowledge gained.  I just want them to learn that reading is fun.  That’s something Corde never got.

I’m thinking of starting it all over again with reading Coraline.  The kids liked Coraline the first time we read it through.  That was when we were living in a shelter, so three years ago.  The kids loved it better than the movie.  That’s something I remembered.  It would be fun to read it with them again.  I have it as an eBook, so that solves the problem of losing it when we moved.  I’ll be honest, I’m thinking we’ll get all our books as eBooks from now on.  It saves space on our bookshelves, which is great, and we don’t have to worry about losing books if we ever move.  We just need to find them and download them again.  We could literally have thousands of books without having to worry about them ever getting lost for good, unless Amazon happens to kick the bucket.

Or maybe we won’t read Coraline.  Maybe we’ll read the Wizard of Oz series, or Anne of Green Gables.  Those would be fun reads too.  Eventually I plan to get Percy Jackson and Harry Potter as eBooks.  At a chapter a day (perhaps minus the days I work) that would lead to a lot of days of reading.  We could get Peter Pan too, and Alice in Wonderland.  I think I’m going to be more excited for these books than the kids.

Anyhow, I digress.  On an “unschooling” level, today was kind of a fail, but on a “homeschooling” level we got a lot done, considering how lazy we have been about everything.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that once we’re set up to do more science experiments and everyone has a better grasp of reading and writing, we’ll probably get back to doing more “unschooling” and less “homeschooling.”  It feels nice to know we’re getting back on track.

As a side note, something that I’ll probably end up ending all of my entries with, we’re really hoping to get Oz back into the military.  It would allow us to live a little closer to the means everyone else seems to live by.  We would have more money to put towards educational pursuits, which would make unschooling all the easier.  So keep your thoughts, prayers, and whatever else on this working out for us.  We could really use this right about now.

Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

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